Latino students recently became the majority in California’s public schools. The Department of Education recently released numbers showing that 51 percent of the state’s students identify themselves as Latino, up from only 37 percent fifteen years ago. But the news has highlighted an conundrum in the state, where its most populous demographic is also failing in large numbers.

Latino students have one of the highest drop out rates in the state, a statistic that’s been steadily increasing over the years and leaving education reformers and advocates searching for answers.

Rupa Dev wrote for New America Media that

there are still many unanswered questions in the debate over how to turn California’s schools around for struggling students.

“It’s increasingly urgent for this state to get serious about Hispanic kids because they are the ones doing the least well in school, ” Patricia Gandara, UCLA professor and author of “The Latino Education Crisis”, told New America Media.

The recent news highlights the need for ongoing reforms in the state, including better bilingual and early childhood education, recruiting more parents to get involved in their kids’ educations, and the need to salvage culturally sensitive programming that’s recently come under attack.